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Matthieu Miossec

Doctoral Student - Genetic Medecine (Congenital Heart Disease),

TEDCRED 100+

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Morality is better informed by science than it is by religion

Religion has a long history of claiming absolute knowledge over questions of morals. Often today, we hear preachers on the street tell us that, for all our scientific and technological achievements, we are losing touch with our morals. Is that true? Is religion than the only or at least the best answer to our moral shortcomings?

The other view is that morality has progressively changed and increased with time and we shudder to think about what stood as morals in our past. In great part, it can be argued that science has fed many moral values by revealing natural truths about ourselves and other animals such that we can no longer see the world in a way that make certain immoral behaviors justifiable.

So which one is better equipped to inform morality? Is there a third institution better equipped perhaps?

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    Oct 27 2011: I feel there is a third way to inform morality that should take place over generalized concepts: experience.

    For as much as we hear in childhood about "don't judge others until you walk a mile in their shoes," "treat others how you want to be treated" etc., it's hard to understand why we don't apply any of that to the adult world. Morals that are based on experiencing being treated poorly by someone with a lack of moral sense are well informed and generally worth listening to.

    As for things that one would rather not ever experience, experience can also inform those morals. If you wouldn't ever want it to happen to you, it's probably morally wrong. If it's similar to an experience that was negative and you have a moral opposition to someone else experiencing what you did, it's probably morally wrong.
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      Oct 27 2011: Kenji, you are resonating a chord on my piano.

      Reared a Southern Baptist interpreter of the Bible, as a child I found precious doubt, because the God that was presented felt he needed to coerce believers. (See Revelation 22:18 and Luke 12:8-10; two of many examples.) However, my indoctrination was so strong I could not free myself.

      Over 35 years as a chemical engineer, I worked with people from over 40 ethnic backgrounds, many of them motivated by Eastern philosophy or religion, including Christianity. As a Protestant, I longed for them to say something like, "Phil, I am impressed with your goodness and want to understand what motivates it." It never happened. Some conversations, I perceived, justified me to treat them "as I wanted to be treated": I practiced the Great Commission.

      For example, I said to Kishor, "Have you met Jesus?"
      He answered, "I don't understand the question."
      I said, "Is Jesus your Lord and savior?"
      He confidently said, "No. I have studied many prophets and pray to Jesus, but that's as far as I would go."
      Then he asked, "What do you mean by heaven?"
      I answered, "Eternal life with Jesus and all people God gave Him to save."
      He responded, "That could happen, but I'd be pleased to be reincarnated a better human or higher being."

      After a couple experiences like that I began to feel arrogant questioning another human being’s inspiration and for the first time in my life (maybe I was 45) saw non-Christians as human beings as valuable as me. Later, I began to see their inner peace—not questioning my religion--as in fact superior to mine. Not long after that, I became not a believer but a human being (now 68) and member of the community of living species. My faith is in reality, unknown as it is.

      Does my story relate to your "third way?"

      Phil

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